Click to View


presided in person. If we are not to ascribe such conduct, and much else of the same kind, to shameless hypocrisy, or, as Sir W. Muir1 does, to the direct inspiration of the Devil, we must at least, it seems to me, see in Muhammad's career a fearful instance of judicial blindness, and a proof of the terrible results of acting from mixed motives and doing evil that good may come.

Later legends current among the Muslims and firmly believed by most of them ascribe to Muhammad the working of 2 miracles, many of them of an extraordinary character.


It is commonly believed, through a misunderstanding of a passage in the Qur'an, that he divided the Moon3 into two parts. We are also gravely assured that when he was a boy, Gabriel opened his breast 4 and removed from it all error and defilement. In later life we are told that on one occasion, when his soldiers complained of thirst during the war of Hudaibia,5 water sufficient for the needs of over 5,000 men flowed from Muhammad's fingers. Once he caused a date-tree to grow from a camel's hump, and to bear fruit which tasted sweet and luscious to all true

1 "Life of Mahomet," vol. ii., pp. 90-96.
2 Vide Mishkat, Babu'l Mu'jizat and Babu'l Karamat, &c. &c.
3 Vide Rawzatu'l Ahbab, and Surah liv. 1.
4 Rawzat, Mishkat, &c. See Koelle, "Mohammad," pp 264 and 340.
5 Ibid.: Koelle; pp. 436, sqq.

believers, but turned to stones in the mouths of those who believed not. He gave camels and other creatures, even pebbles and trees, the power of speaking to him. He healed leprosy and blindness, and once he cast out an evil spirit from a child by rubbing its chest and praying, when the spirit ran away in the shape of a puppy. Muhammadan works are full of such legends as these. Yet in the Qur'an itself Muhammad, when asked to work miracles, plainly declared his inability to do so,1 saying that he was sent as a warner and a preacher and that only. Again and again he asserted that the Qur'an itself was a 2 miracle, the greatest that could be desired, and by its very beauty of composition and literary charms sufficient to prove his prophetic character and to establish his claims. Educated Muslims are coming more and more3 at the present day to adopt the same line of argument, and to deny the truth of the many absurd marvels generally ascribed to him.

§ 12. We have already spoken of the main doctrines taught in the Qur'an, and of the

Composition and
Preservation of
the Qur'an.

method in which the Angel Gabriel is said to have revealed it verse by verse to Muhammad as occasion required. It is known to all of us that the whole volume is by Muslims said to have been written on the "Preserved Tablet" in Heaven, ages before the

1 Surah vii. 183, 188[184,188], &c.
2 Surah ii. 21[23]; x. 38, 39; &c.
3 Cf. the works of Sayyid Ahmad and Sayyid Amir Ali.

Click to View